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Full text of "The stars"

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. | 



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 





)p0tm Collejjje juries. 



Number 



Twenty-Five. 







c * 'a All 

\ ** J* 

REV. C. M/WESTLAKE, M.S. V * * 









"7/ 



0~/ 



NEW YORK : 
PHILLIPS & HUNT. 

CINCINNATI: 
WALDEN & S T O W E.. 

1 88^. 



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The "Home College Series" will contain one hundred short papers on 
a wide range of subjects--biographical, historical, scientific, literary, domes- 
tic, political, and religious. Indeed, the religious tone will characterize all 
of them. They are written for every body — for all whose leisure is limited, 
but who desire to use the mifrutes for the enrichment of life. 

These papers contain seeds from the best gardens in all the world of 
human knowledge, and if dropped wisely into good soil, will bring forth 
harvests of beauty and value. 

They are for the young — especially for young people (and older people, 
too) who are out of the schools, who are full of "business" and "cares," 
who are in danger of reading nothing, or of reading a sensational literature 
that is worse than nothing. 

One of these papers a week read over and over, thought and talked about 
at "odd times," will give in one year a vast fund of information, an intel- 
lectual quickening, wortli even more than the mere knowledge acquired, a 
taste for solid read'ng, many hours of simple and wholesome pleasure, and 
ability to talk intelligently and helpfully to one's friends. 

Pastors may organize " Home College " classes, or " Lyceum Reading 
Unions," or "Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circles," and help the 
young people to read and think and talk and live to worthier purpose. 

A young man may have his own little " college " all by himself, read this 
series of tracts one after the other, (there will soon be one hundred of them 
ready,) examine himself on them by the " Thought- Outline to Help the Mem- 
ory," and thus gain knowledge, and, what is better, a love of knowledge. 

And what a young man may do in this respect, a young woman, and both 

old men and old women, may do. *< 

J. H. Vincent. 

New York, Jan., 1883. 



\N 



Copyright, 1883, by Phillips & Hunt, New York. 






Point ffgl%i joints, ffimnbtr Ctomtg-fiixe. 
THE STARS. 



"The stars are the landmarks of the universe ; and, amid the endless and 
complicated fluctuations of our system, seem placed by their Creator as 
guides and records, not merely to elevate our minds by the contemplation of 
what is vast, but to teach us to direct our actions by reference to what is im- 
mutable in his works/' — Sir John Herschel. 

" Survey this midnight scene: 
What are earth's kingdoms to yon boundless orbs — 
Of human souls, one day, the destined range?" 

Astronomy, as its name signifies, is a setting forth of the 
laws of the stars; but in its more extended application it 
comprehends the constitution, motions, and appearances of 
all the heavenly bodies. This science, as we find Astronomy as 
it to-day, has been the work of centuries. a sclence - 

Its general laws and principles rest upon certain basal 
facts, many of which were the common property of the most 
ancient nations, yet, indeed, until comparatively recent times, 
the knowledge of celestial phenomena and laws was exceed- 
ingly fragmentary, containing, it is true, the germs of a 
future, but as yet undeveloped, science. With the discov- 
ery, improvement, and use of its instruments, astronomy, as 
a science, has attained to a most royal dignity. The place In 
In tli at department of this science occupied by cS>ied1>y° 5£ 
the stars, we find that no recollection of facts star3 - 
pertaining to our solar system is out of place. There is 
scarcely a feature of our recently acquired knowledge of 
this system but what may be attributed, on an inconceiva- 
bly grander scale, to the stellar universe. Every thought of 
variety, vitality, development, and the infinities of time and 
space, suggested by our study of the sun and planets, is a 
step upward and nearer that higher plane of thought, among 



THE STARS. 



the stars, where we so consciously contemplate and irresisti- 
bly perceive Infinitude, Eternity, and Omnipotence, that it 
is impossible to ignore the reality of their existence or to 
The stars de- evade their significance. We are conscious of an 
alfd e powCT d s^ omnipresent, unifying, and irresistible Power, 
wonders ^f making such disposition of innumerable worlds 
time ami space, through illimitable space that an enforced, or- 
dered, beautifully consistent, and beneficent purpose is every- 
where manifest. There comes to us, from this combined 
harmony and co-operation of the different parts of the uni- 
verse, the suggestion of a common center — "the throne of 
nature, the footstool of divinity" — from which system after 
system, in countless numbers and widely and immeasurably 
distant from each other, stretch outward in every direction, 
with nowhere disorder or confusion obtaining against the 
whole or any of its parts. As we seek to compass the 
thought, not only of a central, but of a personal, Power, 
reigning supreme and absolute in, throughout, and over all, 
we are convinced that his living presence is every-where, 
and his supreme authority is felt in every soul. Well may 
the morning stars sing for joy at the work of God's creative 
energy, and all the infinite host of heaven continually declare 
his glory ! And yet this universe contains but " the hiding 
of his power." He is veiled, in sacred and impenetrable 
majesty, by the unfathomable depths of starry worlds, the 
immeasurable reaches of space, and the towering heights of 
eternity. Though concealed, he is none the less present in 
all his works. The limitations of our position no more argue 
uncertainty or unconsciousness of the existence and presence 
of an invisible and incomprehensible God, than they do of 
those outlying regions of the universe which we can neither 
determine nor explore. Man, in his more felicitous moods, is 
conscious of mental powers, even here and now, far superior 
to all his physical surroundings. To explore the material 
universe, fathom its depths, and scale its heights, he needs 



THE STABS; 



but the means adequate to his capacity. By parity of reason 
this is equally true in the spiritual realm. Therefore, the 
blossoms and rich fruitage of this royal science should speak 
to man's spirit of the possibilities reserved for it in the infi- 
nitely more glorious paradise of God. 

The Vastness op the Starry Firmament. 
Science has so far sounded the depths of the material uni- 
verse as to satisfy us that stars and nebulae are interminably 
scattered through all penetrable space. The num- The stars innu . 
ber of stars usually visible to the naked eye, in merabIe - 
the whole heavens of the northern and southern hemispheres, 
is between five and eight thousand. This number, in the 
most powerful telescopes, is increased to between forty and 
fifty millions, or about six or eight thousand to every one 
visible to the naked eye. We have also good reason for be- 
lieving that still larger and correspondingly perfect instru- 
ments would reveal millions upon millions more of smaller 
or more distant stars. What we see is probably but an infin- 
itesimal part of the great universe, which stretches far, far 
beyond instrumental observation and analysis. This fact 
serves to increase the difficulty realized in attempting to 
estimate the magnitude, or form, or scale on which the uni- 
verse is constructed. Only limited success in this direction 
has attended the most careful observations and refined cal- 
culations of recent times. However, this degree of success 
is sufficient to justify us in fixing upon certain figures as the 
approximate distances of the visible stars, and to give us, at 
least, a crude idea of the shape and magnitude of the visible 
universe. The stars are so distant that, under the T he distance of 
most powerful telescopes, they continue to appear thestars - 
as brilliant points of light, with no sensible diameter. Even 
when viewed from stations on opposite sides of the earth, or 
eight thousand miles apart, they suffer no displacement, but 
appear in the same relative position at both points. It is 



THE STABS. 



evident, the earth's diameter is too small a base line from 
which to ascertain the distance of the stars ; but if we take 
the extreme points of the earth's orbit — a hundred and eighty- 
five million miles apart — with the most careful and exact 
measurement, a slight displacement is observed in the case 
of twelve particular stars, from which their actual, though 
greatly differing, distances have been ascertained. Alpha 
Centauri, a bright star in the southern hemisphere, near the 
celebrated Southern Cross, is, so far as known, the nearest 
fixed star, being about twenty-one billion miles distant. It 
is 226,400 times farther from us than our sun, whose light 
reaches us in about eight minutes, while its light requires 
three and a half years. The light of Sirius travels such an 
immense distance that it is sixteen years in coming to us, 
and that of the Pole Star over forty years. Other stars are 
so far distant that the light we receive from them had been 
on the way thousands of years before it touched our planet. 

If it is true, as is most probable, that the difference in brill- 
iancy is due mainly to the difference in distance, then we 
may conclude that the apparently smallest telescopic stars 
are at such immense distances from us that light, to traverse 
the intervening space, requires upward of forty thousand 
TheBtnrsofthe T ears - Tne stars visible to the naked eye are 
Milky way. seemingly scattered at random throughout the 
whole heavens, though many times thicker in some regions 
than in others. Of the telescopic stars many are aggregated 
in close clusters, some of which lie within, and some with- 
out, the Milky Way. It is in the Milky Way we find, scat- 
tered in irregular aggregations, by far the greater number 
of these stars. 

The Milky Way is a beautiful stream of pale light, irregu- 
lar in outline and dividing the heavens, as by a great circle, 
into two nearly equal parts. This stream separates into two 
branches for a considerable portion of its course. It has 
various vacant spaces, but at only one point in the southern 



THE STARS. 



hemisphere, called the "Coal Sack," is it entirely inter- 
rupted. Milton speaks of it as the " broad and ample road, 
whose dust is gold and pavement stars." It has been known 
among various nations as the " Galaxy," the " Circle of milk," 
and the " Celestial river." Some of our American Indians 
held it to be the " path of the dead to the happy hunting- 
grounds." The English speak of it as "Jacob's ladder." 
" Different opinions prevailed among the ancients as to 
what it was. Aristotle thought that it was the result of 
gaseous exhalations from the earth, set on fire in the sky. 
Theophrastus believed it to be the soldering together of two 
hemispheres, constituting the celestial vault. Diodorus rep- 
resented it as a dense celestial fire, appearing through the 
clefts of parting hemispheres. Democritus and Pythagoras 
divined the truth, that the Galaxy is nothing more nor less 
than a vast assemblage of very distant stars ; and Ovid 
speaks of it as a highway whose groundwork is of stars." 

The telescope shows that the Milky Way arises from the light 
of nebulae and of innumerable stars. In this great circle 
round us the stars seem to extend almost to infinity ; but in 
other directions they speedily come to an end, where, as if 
in compensation, the nebulas increase. Real nebulae, in the 
spectroscope, are found to be enormous masses of incandes- 1 
cent gas, generally hydrogen or nitrogen, and, contrary to 
the general distribution of the telescopic stars, these cloud- 
like patches of light increase in number with the increase of 
distance from the Milky Way. The continuous spectrum of 
such inconceivably remote nebulas as that of Andromeda in* 
dicates solid matter which, doubtless, under sufficiently high 
telescopic power, would be resolved into a system of stars. 
Other nebulas have been quite frequently developed, by pow- 
erful telescopes, into distinct star-clusters* It is possible 
that many of the more distant nebulas, having a continuous 
spectrum, may be such systems as that of the Milky Way, 
though the visible star-clusters cannot compare with it in 



THE STARS. 



numbers or magnitude. In a space of twenty degrees long 
and fifteen decrees wide of the Milky Way, Sir William 
Herschel, by aid of a powerful telescope, once counted fifty 
thousand stars. While in some parts of the Milky Way the 
space-penetrating power of the telescope has passed through 
its dense congregation of stars to a non-luminous background 
beyond, yet in many instances the highest optical power 
has only disclosed behind the revealed stars a pale luminos- 
ity which the tasimeter declares to be from an impenetrable 
galaxy of stars. Sir William Herschel made some very in- 
teresting observations of the Milky Way near its thinnest 
and least luminous parts, at a point in the sword-hilt of Per- 
seus, in the constellation of that name. Here the unaided 
eye sees nothing ; but with a small telescope numerous stars 
are visible, and with increased power bright spots and nebu- 
lous haze fill up the background. In Sir William Her- 
schel's great telescope this region teemed with multitudes of 
magnificent suns ; but clear through and beyond their brill- 
iant and sparkling light the instrument penetrated into that 
solemn and sable background of night, free from nebulsB, 
and without the faintest light to soften its deep intensity. 
In doing this, his vision passed by five hundred suns 
ranged in perspective one behind the other, at distances, 
each from each, not less than that of Alpha Centauri from 
our sun. But the majesty and vastness of this revelation are 
far surpassed by those of the thickest portions of this galaxy, 
where the most powerful instruments of to-day fail to fathom 
the depths of its profound and ever-receding luster. " Here 
a stratum of five hundred star systems in depth would be 
lost, like so many atoms of sand on the immensity of an ocean 
shore. They might be blotted out, and the most careful ob- 
server, with the finest instrument, would not miss them. 
They might be rekindled, and all their sun-bursts united 
would not add an appreciable glimmer to the pale luster of 
the steadfast background." Thus, with marvelous optical 



THE STARS. 



power, from, an observatory which it has taken three thou- 
sand years to construct, man sweeps the heavens in vain for 
the boundaries of the universe. His plummet line of one 
hundred and eighty-five millions of miles re-duplicates itself 
again and again, but to be lost in the depths of space. Be- 
yond its farthest reach there are yet fathomless abysses, lit 
up by starry worlds. He may count the sands of the sea- 
shore, but he cannot tell the stars for multitude. He may 
take up our solar system as a very little thing, but what 
scale of weights and measurement shall he use for the stellar 
universe ? Assuredly the unexcelled achievements of astro- 
nomical science have compassed but " a step in infinitude — a 
fragment of the eternity of space and power." - 

Variety of Motion in the Starry Firmament. 
The real motion of the earth from west to east gives to 
the stars an apparent motion from east to west. The proper rao . 
Besides this apparent, they also have a real, or t 101101 ^ stars - 
proper, motion. This latter motion, at such an immense dis- 
tance from us, is relatF? ely minute. A railway train going 
at the rate of thirty miles an hour, when seen a great way 
off, appears to stand still. The real motion of the stars can 
be detected only with the most delicate instruments, by a 
series of observations extending through a great many years. 
Yet the actual velocity of this motion averages from twenty to 
fifty miles per second, while the maximum velocity almost ex- 
ceeds belief. Arcturus moves at a rate of speed one hundred 
times faster than an ordinary railway train. The star known 
as 1830 Groombridge, of the constellation of the Hunting 
Dogs, has a velocity of two hundred miles per second. It 
has been said, "By the year 9000 it may be in Bernice's 
Hair." This velocity is greater than all the known matter 
in the universe could produce by its combined attraction, 
and therefore cannot be accounted for solely on the theory 
of gravitation. 



8 THE STARS. 



The stars are not seemingly greatly affected by mutual 

attraction, and yet there is strong presumptive evidence that 

the stellar universe not only can, but does, revolve about a 

■ common center. Single stars have been resolved 

Motion of . ° 

double and by the aid of the telescope into three or more, 

multiple stars. " _ . l . 

called multiple stars, revolving around a common 
center. When a single star appears in the field of the tele- 
scope as two stars it is called a binary system, or physical 
couple, to distinguish it from an optical couple, which ap- 
pears as such simply from two stars lying in the same straight 
line as seen from the earth. Upward of six thousand phys- 
ical couples, or double stars, are now known. In the case of 
nearly seven hundred a common center of gravity has been 
observed, which indicates connected systems. Of triple 
stars, an instance is known of two stars revolving in ellip- 
tical orbits about the third. The star Epsilon, in the con- 
stellation Lyrse, appears to the naked eye as a faint single 
point of light. A powerful instrument reveals a system of 
four stars, called the " Double-Double." The two stars of 
each pair describe orbits round a center of gravity between 
them, and the two pairs, considered as two single stars, de- 
scribe immensely wider orbits round their common center of 
gravity. The former revolutions require about two thou- 
sand years, and the latter about one million of 

Motion of the J . 

stars as a uni- years. Inconceivably greater must be the length 
of time required for a single revolution of the 
universe about a common center. It is claimed that Mad- 
ler's view, that Alcyone of the Pleiades is the central sun of 
the universe, is " a piece of groundless speculation ;" but a 
central sun of suns is not necessary to the theory of unifica- 
tion by gravity. " Two suns can balance about a point ; all 
suns can swing about a common center. That one unmov- 
ing center may be that city more gorgeous than eastern im- 
agination ever conceived, whose pavement is transparent 
gold, whose walls are precious stones, whose light is life, 



THE STABS. 



and where no dark planetary bodies ever cast shadows" — 
the central abode of the Divine Originator, who made, and 
by whom is poised and controlled in orderly arrangement, 
this complex and boundless universe of worlds. 

In crossing an open field, from one wooded ^jSi-mL? 
portion to another, the trees appear to be draw- j"dp ossibie re- 
ing together in the woods we are leaving, and to 
be separating wider and wider apart in the one to which we 
are going. The stars in the constellation of Argo appear to 
be grouping closer together ; while in the opposite quarter 
of the heavens the stars in the constellation of Hercules ap- 
pear to be drawing away from each other. Our sun, with all 
his attendant planets, is moving in the direction of Her- 
cules at the rate of four miles a second. 

Aside from this motion, the telespectroscope shows that 
certain stars in the line of sight are moving from, and others 
toward, our solar system. As a general rule, stars found in 
the same region of space move nearly in the same direction. 
An exception to this rule is the phenomenon to which Proctor 
gives the name Star-drift. Five out of seven of the stars 
which form the Great Dipper constitute such a group, with 
a community of motion or drift in the direction of the star 
Thuban. Warren says : " In thirty-six hundred years the 
end of the Dipper will have fallen out so that it will hold 
no water, and the handle will be broken square off at Mizar." 
"The Southern Cross," says Humboldt, "will not always 
keep its characteristic form, for its four stars travel in differ- 
ent directions with unequal velocities. At the present time 
it is not known how many myriads of years must elapse be- 
fore its entire dislocation." 

No Evidence of Growth or Decay in the Starry 
Firmament. 
Thus far no loss or increase to the stellar universe has 
been positively known. We are not certain in any single 



10 THE STARS. 



instance of the disappearance of a star, or of the appearance 
of a new one. It is true, certain stars appear or disappear 
in the heavens ; but other stars, which do not disappear, ex- 
perience a periodical or irregular increase and diminution of 
brightness. Therefore, so-called new and lost stars probably 
owe such designations to extreme variations in the quantity 
Temporary °f tnen * light. Indeed, several instances are on rec- 
stars. or( j Q £ a sma u s ^ ar) invisible to the naked eye, flash- 

ing out into brilliancy, and, after a time, sinking into its 
former condition. Kepler has written an interesting history 
of a new or rather temporary star seen by him in 1604. It 
was remarkable for its beautiful scintillation and rainbow 
colors. It is supposed to have appeared in 393, 798, and 
1203. A bright star in Cassiopeia, seen by Tycho Brahe in 
1572, is supposed to have showed itself, in almost exactly 
the same place, in 945 and 1264. A star is now seen in the 
same part of the heavens, slowly increasing in brightness, 
and will probably rival Venus in splendor, about 1885. 
Variable Probably one out of every forty stars are of varia- 
stars. j^g "brilliancy. I n general the variations are so slight 
that only the most skilled observers, by continued examina- 
tions with delicate instruments, can detect them ; but in a 
few instances they are obvious to all who will take the pains 
to watch for them. Eta, in the constellation Argo, is, per- 
haps, the most extraordinary of the variable stars, and may 
be regarded as a connecting link between them and tempo- 
rary stars. In March of 1843 it was second only to Sirius, 
the brightest star in the heavens. It diminished in bright- 
ness for twenty-five years, and in 1868 it vanished from the 
unassisted view, and has not yet begun to recover its bright- 
ness. Mira, the wonderful star, for fifteen days of its period 
of eleven months, is almost as brilliant as a second magni- 
tude star ; but it fades away till it becomes invisible to tele- 
scopes of small power. The variable star, Algol, is remark- 
able for its short period of a few days. This variability has 



THE STARS. 11 



been supposed to indicate a partial eclipse, occasioned by a 
large dark planet. Again, it has been asserted the star re- 
volves on its axis, and presents unequally luminous parts. 
The latest and most probable theory of variable and tempo- 
rary stars has been deduced by Balfour Stewart, from ob- 
servations of the variability of the sun. We have constitution of 
good reason to believe that the physical constitu- the stars - 
tion of the stars is of the same general nature as that of the 
sun. The stellar spectra indicates solar elements with char- 
acteristic modifications, from differences of temperature as 
well as of combination. Every eleven years, or at the period 
of the greatest number of sun spots, we get the least light 
from the sun, and when freest from these the light is bright- 
est. Suppose a similar mode of operation for stellar as for 
solar forces, subject to the differences in distance, size, and 
temperature, and we have, perhaps, the true theory for the 
changes in brightness of the variable and temporary stars. 
The spectrum of the temporary star of 1866 indicated a sud- 
den outburst of hydrogen gas, similar to what is seen in the 
red flames of the solar chromosphere, only on an immensely 
grander scale, as the cause of its extraordinary increase of 
brightness. This gas may have been liberated from within, 
or produced by the force of its impact with a planet, or with 
some other star. " It is far more likely," says Warren, " that 
this star encountered an enormous stream of meteoric bod- 
ies, or, perhaps, absorbed a whole comet, that laid its million 
leagues of tail as fuel on the central fire." Besides variation 
in brilliancy, stars have been known to change Stars of differ . 
color. The white star Sirius at one time was red. ent colors - 
Iron, in a furnace, passes from a dull red at low temperature 
through different colors to a white heat. Sirius, Regulus 
Vega, and Spica are at white heat. Procyon, Capella, and. 
Polaris are yellow, from a lower temperature. Aldebaran 
and Betelguese give only red light. 

Possibly, difference in atmosphere, age, etc., has something 



12 THM STARS. 



to do with this variety of color. This variation is one of the 
most remarkable features of the multiple star^ A certain 
ternary combination shows a rich and full orange star, with 
two fainter green stars. Sometimes one star of a binary system 
is a bright blue, and the other a sea-green ; and sometimes a 
white star is combined with a red star. With a certain bright 
star is to be seen an intensely clear crimson star. More 
than three hundred red stars have been catalogued, having 
every tint and delicate gradation known to a discriminating 
eye. A celebrated cluster in the Southern Cross, containing 
over one hundred small stars, appears in the larger telescopes, 
sparkling and flashing in all the tints of green, blue, and red, 
" like a superb piece of fancy jewelry." What a wonder- 
land of colors must be a planet of the Multiple Star System! 
We can imagine how " Mountain peak and running water 
will be smitten into ruby and amber and amethyst and vio* 
let, or dashed into a sudden spectrum of opal, or quickened 
with the colored and swift-passing flash of the diamond, as 
the lights and shadows troop through the changeful sky." 
It is a degree of magnificence far surpassing the most glow- 
ing fancies and wonder-filled creations of fairy land. 

Constellations in the Starry Firmament* 
Some of the principal stars have names assigned to them, 
but it would be impossible to designate each star by a par- 
ticular name. Hence, for the sake of convenience, the stars 
have been divided into groups, called constellations. These 
number one hundred and six, of which forty-eight were 
known to the ancients, who divided them into twelve zodi- 
acal constellations, twenty-one of the northern and fifteen 
of the southern hemisphere. Orion, the Pleiades, and the 
Great Bear were known from the most remote antiquity. 
Certain constellations are symbolized by the figures of birds, 
fishes, men, and monsters. In nearly every instance, how- 
ever, there is little or no resemblance between the outline of 



THE STARS, . 13 



the group and its symbol. It is probable the original dia- 
grams accurately recording the positions of the 0risin and si? . 
stars were, in the decadence of monotheism, dis- ancu^constei- 
torted by a guilty superstition into the horrid lati " ns - 
monsters of sin-polluted imaginations. But the ancients did 
not people the heavens with " gorgons, hydras, and chimeras 
dire " alone. They also gave to their embodiments of hope 
and highest ideals a place of ceaseless activity and dominion 
in the skies. The constellation of Hercules continues in 
perpetual memory the efforts in behalf of others of a half* 
divine hero of that name, who won for himself the right to 
shine in light forever. The equally heroic, but more poetic, 
life of Perseus, is written in the starry syllables of the con- 
stellation which bears his name. Equipped by the gods for 
the defense of unprotected innocence and virtue, and the 
destruction of its monster assailant, he first attacks and cuts 
off the head of the loathsome Gorgon Medusa, whose horrid 
aspect of snaky hair and scaly body was wont to turn to 
stone every beholder. As he swept through the air on the 
sandals of Mercury, carrying the head aloft, the blood which 
dropped from it upon the sands of Lybia turned into ser- 
pents. He came to where the maiden was chained to a rock 
as a tribute to a sea-monster, which he speedily slew. He 
rescued Andromeda from a horrible fate, and led her away 
" by the bands of love." " To the ancients the heavens were 
full of fighting Orions, wild bulls, chained Andromedas, and 
devouring sea-monsters. Our heavens are significant of har? 
mony and unity ; all worlds carried by one force and har- 
monized into perfect music." We have rejected the fables 
and superstitions of an earlier age, and in that system of 
worlds, " connected by a force so fine that it seems to pass 
out of the realm of the natural into the spiritual," we find 
shining steps, which we most reverently climb, in the eveiv 
ascending way to the infinite Creator. " Lift up your eyes 
on high, and behold who hath created these things, that " 



14 THE STARS. 



brought " out their host by number : he calleth them all by 
names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong 
in power; not one faileth." 

The Earth Changes, but not the Starry Firmament. 
The great star-book of the skies contains the beautiful 
lesson of harmony and constancy. Earthly fluctuations do 
not invade the serene and unchanging heavens. To-day the 
axis of the earth points within a few degrees of the star Po- 
laris; 2300 B.C. it pointed much nearer than that to Thuban, 
which was then the Pole Star. In 21,200 years from now it 
The stars con- w ^ again point toward Thuban. Polaris, Vega, 
stant. Thuban, and a few other stars forever sustain 

between them the honor of sentinel service for the eternal 
throne of the North. Arcturus and his sons, as in the days 
of Job, continue their solemn march around the pole. Orion, 
girt with his band of light, yet climbs the steep ascent of the 
eastern sky. " The sweet influences of the Pleiades are still 
unbound. The signs and seasons are still numbered upon 
the glittering belt of Mazzaroth." 

From age to age the stars endure, with no diminution of 
light, no break in their harmony, no change of place — ever 
poised, maintained, and marshaled in perfect order, by an 
The earth invisible and almighty hand. The unchanging 
changeful. order of the heavenly host finds no counterpart 
on the earth. Kingdoms rise and fall amid the surge of hu- 
man passion and the shock and cloud of battle. Nation after 
nation, like ephemeral forms, disappear on the ocean of life. 
The flood of ages has repeatedly swept out and swept in 
new orders of things. The ocean's fury of wind and wave, 
the throbbings of the volcano's fiery heart, the earthquake's 
shock and the tornado's wrath, each in their turn and to- 
gether have contributed to the disorder and calamities of 
this groaning habitation of man. " The clouds and tempests 
of earth have not dimmed the light of the stars. The shock 



THE STARS. 15 



of armies and the thunder of a thousand battles have not 
shaken one gem from the diadem of night." God's firma- 
ment, with its starry worlds, still knows his never-failing 
vigilance, and is maintained, as in the beginning, by his un- 
aided hand. The Psalmist witnessed the glory of God in 
the heavens ; but the great telescope of to-day reveals one 
hundred and twenty-seven millions such heavens as he saw. 
Immensity of space, all ablaze with God's glory, inspires the 
question, "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" 

" We for whose sake all nature stands, 
And stars their courses move." 

" We, for whom God the Son came down, 
And labored for our good." 

With more than an earthly parent's love, God cares for us, 
and holds these worlds in but light esteem compared with 
a human soul. Not only at Christmas time — the season of 
immortal hope and the birthday of immortal mercy — and 
on joyous Easter-day, which we love for what it makes us 
forget and for what it makes us remember ; but on every 
occasion of joy and of sorrow, of darkness and of light, we 
may read evidences of God's wisdom, might, and loving 
solicitude for his children on every page of his holy Book, 
where every syllable is a star. It is but a natural and pleas- 
ant step from the starry firmament above to the starry firma- 
ment of revelation in which we behold the world's Redeemer, 
conflict-scarred, rainbow-covered, and glory-crowned, sitting 
at the right hand of the Majesty on high ; having made 
possible for us a purity whiter than snow, a knowledge 
wider than an angel's, heights of character loftier than the 
stars, and with foundations deeper than the abysses of space. 
As " between two worlds life hovers like a star," it is not in 
vain that we stretch out our hands imploringly and make our 

cry to God, 

" For yet I know, past all doubting truly 
A knowledge greater than grief can dim; 

I know, as he loved me, he will love me duly, 
Yea, better, e'en better than I love hira." 



16 THE STABS. 



" Is not God in the height of heaven ? and behold the 
height of the stars, how high they are ! " — Bible. 

" That man who never looked up, with serious attention, 
to the motions and arrangements of the heavenly orbs, must 
be inspired with but a slender degree of reverence for the 
Almighty Creator, and devoid of taste for enjoying the beau- 
tiful and the sublime." — Dr. Dick. 

" There they stand, shining in order, like a living hymn, 
written in light." — N. P. Willis. 

" One star differeth from another star in glory." — Bible. 

" I wonder as I gaze. That stream of light, 
Undiramed, unquenched — just as I see it now — 
Has issued from those dazzling points, through years 
That go far back into eternity. 
Exhaustless flood! forever spent, renewed forever! " 

" Stars teach as well as shine." 

" For many years it has been one of my constant regrets 
that no school-master of mine had a knowledge of natural 
history, so far, at least, as to have taught me the grasses 
that grow by the wayside, and the little winged and wing- 
less neighbors that are continually meeting me with a salu- 
tation which I cannot answer, as things are. Why didn't 
somebody teach me the constellations, too, and make me at 
home in the starry heavens, which are always overhead, and 
which I don't half know to this day." — Carlyle. 

" 'Tis not for me, ye heavens ! 'tis not for me 
To fling a poem like a comet out, far splendoring 
The sleepy realms of night." — Alexander Smith, 



TIKIS STJ^FLS. 
[thought-outline tu help the memory.] 
What is Astronomy ? Signs of a Creator ? Number of stars visible to naked 

eye? Through telescopes ? Distance of stars? Alpha? Sinus? Pole Star? 
Mi Iky Way ? Different names ? Different theories ? Herschel's observations ? 
Apparent motion of stars? Real motion? Arcturus? Groombridu-e ? 

" Multiple stars ? " Epsilon ? " Star-drift ? " 
Decay in the starry firmament? Eta i Mira? Balfour Stewart's theory? 

Variety of color ? 
Constellations ? Changes on earth ? 



No. 1. Biblical Exploration. A Con- 
densed Manual on How to Study the 
Bible. By J. H. Vincent, D.D. F'lll 

\ and rich l t 

mo. 2. Studies of the Stars. A Pocket 
I Guiiie to the Science of Astronomy. 

By H. W. Warren, D.D . . ic 

jNo. 3. Bible Studies for Little People. 

By Rev. B. T. Vincent 10 

No. 4. English Ilistory. Bv J. H. Vin- 

. cent, D.U | 

No. 5. Greek History. By J. H. Vin 

• cent, D.D 

rNo. 6. Greek Literature. By A. D. 

. Vail, D.D . 20 

Wo. 7. Memorinl Days of the Chautau- 
qua Literary and Scientific Circle 10 

No. 8. What Noted Men Think of the 

; Bible. By L. T. Townsend, D.D 10 

Bo. 9. William Cullen Bryant 10 

Mo. 10. What is Education? By Wm. 

F. Phelps, A.M 10 

Wo. 11. Socrates. By Prof. W. F. Phelps, 
I A.M 



10 



In 



By Prof. W. F. 

By Prof. 'Albert 



No. 12. Pestalozzi. 

t Phelps, A.M 

mo. 13. Anglo-Saxon. 

' S.Cook 

No. 14. Horace Mann. By Prof " Wm" 

F. Phelps, A.M * • 

r>. 15. Froebel. Bv Prof Wm. F 
Phelps, A.M " 

No. 16. Roman History. B\ J H. Vin- 
cent, D.D 

No. 17. Ilojrer A«chnm and John Sturm. 
Glimpses of Education in the Six- 
teenth Century. By Prof Wm F 
Phelps. A.M...." I ;. ' 

Jo. 18. Christian Evidences. Bv J 
Vincent, D.D 



10 



10 



10 



H. 



TEXT-BOOKS. 



No. 19. The Book of Books. By J. M. 

Freeman, D.D \q 

N". 20. The Chautauqua Hand-Book' 

By J. H. Vincent, D.D io 

N<>. 21. American History. By J L 

HuWI.ui, A.M ' ' ' io 

N-. 22. Biblical Biology. By Rev." J 

H. Wythe. A.M., M.D .' io 

No. 23. English Literature. By Prof. 

J. H. Gilmore 20 

No. 2i. Canadian History. By 'James 

L. Hughes io 

No. 25. Self-Education. By Joseph Al- 
lien. D.D., LI..D I 10 

No 26. The Tabernacle. By Rev. John 

C.Hill 10 

N«. 27. Readings from Ancient Classics. 10 
No. 28. Manners and Customs of Bible 

Time.-. By J. M. Freeman, D.D 

N^. 29. Man's Antiquity and Language. 

By M.S.Terrv. D.D.." .... 

No. 30. The World of Missions. By 

Henry K. Carroll 

No. 31. What Nil ted Men Think" of 

Christ. Bv L. T. Townsend, D.D.... 

No. 32. A Brier Outline of the History 

of Art. By Miss Julia B. De Forest 

No. 33. Elihu Burritt: "The Learned 

Blacksmith." By Charle« Northend. 

No. 34. Asiatic History : China, Corea, 

Japan. By Rev. Wm. Elliot Griffls.. 10 
No. 35. Outlines of General History. 

By J. H. Vincent, D.D " iq 

No. 36. Assembly Bible Outlines. By 

J. H. Vincent, D.D \q 

No. 37. Assemb v Normal Outlines. By 

J. H. Vincent. D.D io 

No. 38. The Life of Christ, By Rev. 

J. L. Hurlbur, M.A io 

No. 39. The Suiidav -School Noimal 
Class. By J. H. Vincent, D.D 10 



10 



10 



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Published by PHILLIPS & HUNT, 805 Broadway, New York.